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  • Three applications were before the court: the wife's application for disclosure from the eighth and ninth respondents, in support of her claims under section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 and section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973; an application by five respondents to be released from their obligations under previous orders; and an application by the eighth and ninth respondents for a case management stay of the proceedings pending the outcome of proceedings in Liechtenstein. Knowles J found that the orders for disclosure directed at the eighth and ninth respondents were necessary to justly and fairly determine the wife's properly brought claim, even though those orders might be contrary to civil and criminal law in Liechtenstein. The risk of prosecution in Liechtenstein was little more than purely hypothetical. The absence of the material in question would very substantially interfere with the wife's ability to pursue her claim and would hamper the court's ability to determine the proceedings fairly. Knowles J refused the application to set aside and vary the previous orders, and refused the application for a stay of the proceedings. Judgment, 17/08/2020, free
  • The parties had lived together with their three children and were equal shareholders in a motor vehicle repair and servicing company. After they broke up, the male partner had transferred the business of the company to a new limited company, without the agreement of the female partner. He was subsequently ordered to purchase her shareholding because of unfair prejudice. The court was petitioned to take a summary approach as to valuation, as far as could be reasonably achieved. Difficulties included the lack of up-to-date financial information, the upcoming expiry of a lease and the effects of the coronavirus. ICC Judge Jones decided that a valuation of £45,500 would be a fair sum, being £26,000 for anticipated dividends and £19,500 for a multiplier. Although this was part of the process of splitting assets to establish a future for the parties and their children, the petitioner could only receive what the respondent was able to pay, and thus it was important for the parties to communicate, to try to resolve how the valuation could best be paid. Judgment, 29/07/2020, free
  • The couple had been together, unmarried, for just over ten years and had two children. There had already been three trial judgments given in separate actions consequent on that breakup, leading to costs orders against the female partner totalling about £90,000, none of which had been paid or were likely to be paid. This new Chancery claim arose out of allegations that the male partner, in his capacity as director of a company in which both parties had held shares, had run substantial parts of it on a cash in hand basis. He applied to strike out or dismiss the claim, and for an extended civil restraint order (CRO) to prevent his former partner making further claims or applications against him without permission. HHJ Parfitt, sitting as a judge of the High Court, struck out the particulars of claim and the claim form on the ground that taken together they impeded the just disposal of the proceedings – they provided no basis for the case to be understood, defended or tried – and did not comply with the rules regarding statements of case. He also struck out the claim on the grounds that it sought to reopen matters decided in previous claims and otherwise failed to set out a cause of action with a reasonable chance of success. An extended CRO was justified, on balance, but it would not extend to family proceedings and it would exclude any application to have an existing limited CRO set aside. Judgment, 24/07/2020, free
  • An application for financial remedies, following divorce proceedings. The couple married in 2000 and they separated in 2017. They had two daughters, aged 8 and 3. Mr Nicholas Cusworth QC (sitting as a deputy High Court judge) stated that the single most important dispute between the parties was over the value of the husband's interest in a company focused on proprietary trading and market making. He took the husband's shares to have a gross value of £43.4m and a net value of £35.3m, assuming a realisation at CGT rates. He found that a fair spread of the husband's liability would be for him to pay £2,787,595 in 2020, £5m in 2021, a further £5m in 2022, and then a final payment of £4m in 2023. He would be able to withdraw those sums from his interest in the business with no more than proportionate disruption to the company, when balanced against the desirability of providing the wife's award to her and achieving a clean break as soon as practicable. Judgment, 25/06/2020, free
  • The couple used to run a shipping business together, but were now in the midst of a bitter divorce. The wife had obtained a freezing order to prevent the disposal or charging of four vessels operated within that business. Her case was that she and the husband were entitled to beneficial interests in shares in the companies which owned the vessels. The freezing order had been discharged on appeal, and then reinstated pending this appeal by the wife. The appeal was allowed by Males, Moylan and Phillips LJJ and the freezing order would continue, but on the terms set out in the schedule to the judgment, which would allow one of the vessels to be sold, or for vessels to be charged as security for a loan. If nothing had been done, there was a risk that the vessels would have had to be sold for no more than scrap value, which would not have been in the wife's interests. Judgment, 18/06/2020, free

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